عنوان مقاله [English]
Introduction and problematic of the research: Given the fact that virtual social networks have provided a basis for developing constructed identities and contribute to ethnic or Meta ethnic movements, we decided to launch this qualitative study so to provided better understanding about Balouch civil activists. Balouchs are members of an Iranian noble and populous ethnic group who are engaged in using cyberspace capabilities in order to define and redefine identity elements, to construct new identities and to propound and follow up identity demands. Accordingly, the problematic of this research rests in how Balouchs are using social media to redefine their ethnic identity.
Theoretical framework and analytical perspectives: In our view, ethnicity is an issue similar to any other social phenomenon that is constructed in a discursive context (Barth, 1969; Castells, 1997; Anderson, 2006). It brings a person to a kind of self-awareness in order to define "self" against "other" or "others". Here, while we emphasize on the variability of ethnic identities and their formation under the status quo, we believe understanding how ethnic identity Inquiries arise and decline is also an important issue that needs further research. Therefore, it needs to be considered how social activists determine the boundaries of ethnic identity and communicate with other identity levels, including meta-ethnicity, national and international identities. It is also interesting to know what criteria are considered appropriate tools of measuring such tendencies.
Methodology: the qualitative research approaches (Creswell, 2007) offer variety of methods. Here we consider our research to fall under the category of "qualitative content analysis" combined with a "case study". Accordingly, the Balouch civil activists in the field of cyberspace activism formed our units of analysis and target society. They conduct continuous reformist and identity-based activities and are constantly producing texts in this regard. We selected some 30 people purposefully from such unit to launch our study. Based on sequential sampling logic, we collected the texts that they have been producing online in order to do further analysis. This means, quotations from Balouch activists in the social networks and during their online conversations, and the notes published by them in the context of this space, formed the analytical unit and our units of observation.
Results and Discussion: Some of the results demonstrate that majority of the members of the study group have tried to configure a series of critical discursive encounters with various social and political trends. This is especially true about the groups with the same socio-cultural bases and reformist political approaches. Unlike some other identity groups, Balouchs present some sort of internal critique first, and primarily emphasize on the improvement of the social organization and structure within the Balouch society. Then they turn the critique toward the governance and political macro structure. In fact, it seems we are encountering a kind of critical intellectual trend that most of its activities are based on a central core, i.e., "rethinking about Blouch-self". Our findings indicate that the purpose of the considered activists using the cyberspace capabilities, is not only to change the external and tangible structure of the society, but they believe that in the event of a fundamental shift in closed mentality and world-awareness of Balouch people, they can rule out the governing anti-developmental situation of their society. While the Balouch civil activists provide a flexible and critical image from the past and what is called traditional society, they also underline the future of this society to offer new forms of social opportunities, in which, individual agency is dominant. Furthermore, given the increasing and stable concerns regarding preservation and promotion of the potential of a peaceful coexistence, which ultimately leads to inflorescence of developmental individual creativity and long-term cooperation, the studied activists have done efforts to highlight the importance of the dialogue. In fact, these efforts aim at forming a general area that facilitates free communication processes and interactions between various social groups along with a macro-level governance. Finally and in general, the findings indicate that most of the members of the considered society that exploit a series of discursive-linguistic capabilities, are looking for constructing a new identity that, from their point of view, will create a new spirit within the body of the Balouchistan society. This happens in order to develop a new plan for a province with a cultural and social diversity. Therefore, it has been attempted to present a picture in which people who are neither ethnic-centered nor antagonist, but are converging citizens, as they tend respect each other's cultural diversity, and help each other towards perusing a excellence-oriented and emancipating development plan